Illinois Department of Agriculture posts 2nd adult use cannabis licensing FAQ and updated applications for cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter license applications due March 16

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has posted the second of two anticipated frequently asked question bulletins regarding the portion of Illinois’s adult use cannabis program that it is administering – the cultivation, creation and transportation of cannabis products. 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will soon begin accepting applications for cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses and in advance of the application deadline, it undertook to answer applicant questions regarding the applications in two phases, the second of which can be found here.

The second FAQ is worth the read and clears up some important issues about the application process, judging, point scoring and requirements such as:

  • Will applicants receive an advantage for submitting their application on the first day applications will be accepted (February 14, 2020) in that an application may be approved before the application filing deadline of March 16, 2020. Stated differently, if the first 40 applications filed satisfy the approval standards, will licenses be issued to those applicants regardless of the month-long filing period (which expires March 16, 2020)? No. The timing of the submission will have no effect on scoring. There will be no advantage to any applicant based on when an application is submitted within the submission period.
  • If an applicant is applying for an Infuser and a Craft Grower license, or submitting two Craft Grower applications, can it use the same $20,000 in liquid assets for each application, or does it need to show separate accounts and amounts for each application?  Each application is reviewed and graded on the contents of that application alone.
  • Can an applicant pay rent to a landlord in the form of a percentage of profits? This would create a “financial interest,” thereby making the landlord a “principal officer.”
  • Will Craft Growers be required to interface with the State electronic verification system, i.e., BiotrackTHC, and, if so, will Exhibit C or any other exhibit in the Application need to incorporate such? There is no required or preferred third party provider of inventory management services. Any provider and/or processes that meets the requirements of the Act will be acceptable provided that the system integrates with the State’s verification system. At this time, the Department anticipates continuing to use BioTrackTHC.
  • Can you clarify the 5,000 square foot flower space? Is that in Canopy space or is that total square building footage of the room? Does Aisle space count? Or just space under lights? In a double tier rack that has encompasses 100 square feet, would that count as 100 square feet of flower (total space) or 200 square feet (2 shelves of Canopy). Can a craft grow facility utilize multiple tiers of plants in the flowering state on top of each other, such that there is equal to or less than 5,000 square feet of canopy (when looking down from an aerial view), but the aggregate amount of floor space used for all of the tiers exceeds 5,000 square feet? A craft grower may contain up to 5,000 square feet of canopy space on its premises for plants in the flowering state. Canopy space is a space measured from the outermost point of a mature flowering plant in a designated growing area and continuing around the outside of all mature flowering plants in that designated growing area, but not including space allocated for walkways or ancillary equipment. This space may be spread over a single level or multiple levels. Each level of mature flowering plants is considered in calculating canopy space.
  • What type of insurance is required pursuant to Emergency Rules, Section 1300.400(d)(24)? What documentation is suitable to the Illinois Department of Agriculture regarding the ability to get insurance pursuant to Emergency Rules, Section 1300.400(d)(24)? An Applicant must show that it can obtain an insurance policy that will indemnify and hold harmless the State and its officers and employees.
  • How will the application be reviewed if applicant cannot get zoning approved before the application is submitted? Compliance with local zoning is a requirement for a license under the Act. Applicants are encouraged to submit the most complete and competitive application possible. The Department will not be providing a public description of the specific scoring system for applications at this time. Applicants are encouraged to complete all relevant sections of the application and submit the most competitive application possible.

For Illinois cannabis lawyers and consultants, there’s even a nod that an applicant may be best served to present the best application possible, so not utilizing the services of cannabis counsel could very well be the difference in points you need to win:

  • If a person goes through the application process on their own, without a consultant or attorney or other advisor, and provides the best information possible as professionally as possible, will that application be less preferred than ones obviously prepared by professionals? Will both types of applications score the same if all information needed was provided? The Act and the Department’s emergency rules set forth the point values and scoring criteria to be used in scoring applications. Applicants are encouraged to submit the most complete and competitive application possible. Each application will stand on its own and be graded independently, and the Department will only award an applicant the number of licenses that the applicant is permitted to hold under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

You can read our piece on the first FAQ for Illinois craft grower, infuser and transporter hopefuls here.

You can find the applications for the Illinois cannabis craft grower, infuser, and transporter licenses here.

Illinois cannabis attorneys and their clients can start submitting applications for the craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses February 14 and must have them in by March 16.

Ashley Brandt

Hi there! I’m happy you’re here. My name is Ashley Brandt and I’m an attorney in Chicago representing clients in the Food and Beverage, Advertising, Media, and Real Estate industries. A while back I kept getting calls and questions from industry professionals and attorneys looking for advice and information on a fun and unique area of law that I’m lucky enough to practice in. These calls represented a serious lack of, and need for, some answers, news, and information on the legal aspects of marketing and media. I've got this deep seeded belief that information should be readily available and that the greatest benefit from the information age is open access to knowledge... so ... this blog seemed like the best way to accomplish that. I enjoy being an attorney and it’s given me some amazing opportunities, wonderful experiences, and an appreciation and love for this work. I live in Chicago and work at an exceptional law firm, Goldstein & McClintock, with some truly brilliant people. Feel free to contact me at any time with any issues, comments, concerns… frankly, after reading this far, I hope you take the time to at least let me know what you think about the blog and how I can make it a better resource.

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